Los Angeles sheriff's deputies to get body-worn cameras

Posted at 2:57 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 14:57:05-04

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Los Angeles County deputies, who make up the largest sheriff's department in the nation, will begin getting body-worn cameras in October, the sheriff's announced Wednesday.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said 1,200 deputies in five patrol stations will receive the body cameras beginning Oct. 1. Ultimately, the department will spend $25 million over five years for 5,200 cameras.

Hundreds of deputies reportedly purchased their own body cameras as the department's plans to buy them stalled for years.

The move comes after weeks of civil unrest in Los Angeles and across the nation following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Body camera footage in Floyd's death has become a critical part of the criminal case against four officers.

Villanueva said body camera footage would have helped detectives investigate a recent shooting where a deputy fatally shot an 18-year-old man five times in the back. There is no known video of the shooting.

There will be random audits of the deputies' footage, Villanueva said. The cameras will have a 1-minute buffer period in which they will record video -- though not audio -- before they are manually activated.

The sheriff said the department signed the deal with manufacturer Axon, which is known best for developing the Taser, on Tuesday.